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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Hobbies for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Needlecrafts

You may think that your vision loss precludes doing the needlecrafts you enjoyed as a hobby. But that is not the case. With a few simple modifications, you can continue to create the beautiful things that were a pleasure to wear or use yourself, or give as gifts to friends and family members. You can still do:

  • Knitting and crocheting. Your knitting and crocheting skills didn't disappear with your vision loss. With no modifications at all, you can wield knitting needles or a crochet hook to make scarves, sweaters, afghans, and any other practical or decorative object that appeals to you.

  • Needlepoint, embroidery, and sewing. If you have low vision, you can continue doing needlework by hand using adaptations such as large needles, thimbles, special threading devices, enlarged patterns, dark pattern lines, and a stand magnifier. For machine sewing, needle guards will ensure safety and accuracy.

Pottery

The tactile nature of pottery makes it an ideal activity for anyone who is visually impaired. If you've enjoyed working with clay in the past, there is no reason to stop with the onset of vision loss. You can experiment with texture and form just as sighted potters do. If you're familiar with the techniques of using a pottery wheel, it won't be difficult for you to become as adept as you were before becoming visually impaired.

Woodworking

If your favorite hobby has been using hand or power tools to transform wood into practical and/or elegant objects for your home, vision loss need not put an end to that. It is an activity that you can continue to enjoy, provided you follow the safety rules for each piece of equipment, including:

  • Always wear protective goggles. This is the most basic and essential rule for everyone who works with wood and cutting tools.

  • Indicate where cuts are to be made. Use a black marker on light color wood, a white or yellow marker on dark wood, or contrasting tactile markings.

  • Use braille labels. Apply them to tools and their location on the tool rack to help you organize, identify, and return the tools to their proper place.

  • Get training from a craftsperson skilled in woodworking. No matter how expert you were in handling power tools before your vision became impaired, you need to learn specialized techniques for using power tools in efficient and safe ways. Relearning those basic skills from your new perspective will ensure that your recreational woodworking activities are free of injuries and other mishaps.

Learn more in Foundations of Education, Second Edition, Volume II, edited by Alan J. Koenig and M. Cay Holbrook.

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